IDEO visits Augustana Design Program

Augustana College student designers had an opportunity to visit and work with IDEO designers during a recent campus visit. IDEO is a leading design firm with an international footprint and interdisciplinary approach to design. The campus visit included casual meals with Augustana student designers and IDEO designers, portfolio reviews, open lectures with discussion format interactions, and a workshop.



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Special thanks to the IDEO designers who spent time with us:

Joe Graceffa

Joe has spent 13 years of his career with IDEO, where he is currently a Portfolio Lead focusing on Brand Experience and Product. Over the years, he has lead and collaborated on programs in consumer electronics, automotive, food and beverage, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, web-based startups, community development, and other industries. While formally trained in Product Design, the focus of Joe’s work goes beyond the physicality of products, environments, and services to consider the broader Brand Experience of which those elements are a part. Specializing in programs which involve complex business and brand challenges, Joe leverages his ability to understand and be inspired by the end user to deliver human-based, emotional successes.

Over the years, Joe has had the privilege to work with such clients as Eli Lilly, Miller Brewing, Motorola, Microsoft, Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Nestle, Pepsi, Baxter, Proctor & Gamble, SC Johnson, Medtronic, T-Mobile, and Sara Lee, among others. A collection of programs that stand out include an effort to create an “Experience Blueprint” to revive Kansas City’s fledgling historic Jazz District, an undertaking with Ford Motor Company to bring new life to a struggling Lincoln brand that included establishing a pop-up IDEO studio within Ford’s headquarters, and, most recently, leading a year-long effort with Sara Lee Foods visualizing new brands to reposition Sara Lee as a premium meats provider.

IDEO has not been Joe’s only career stop. He has enjoyed working as the Design Director at MINIMAL, Creative Director at IA Collaborative, and Experience Lead at VSA Partners. Although Joe doesn’t think awards are the best metric for judging success, he’s been the grateful recipient of numerous acknowledgements from Business Week (Gold and Silver), Good Design, Red Dot, and the MDEA. A product of a Midwestern upbringing, Joe graduated from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) while also jumping across the pond to study at the University of Northumbria in the UK.


Zach Hobbs

Zach Hobbs is a Communication Designer at IDEO Chicago who brings unfettered creativity, white-hot optimism, and insatiable curiosity to bear on any design problem, large or small. Since joining IDEO, Zach has helped a major American food company bring a new brand to life, a leading welding-equipment company create a more user-friendly interface, and a Midwest energy company encourage its customers to conserve energy, among other challenges.

Before moving “up North” from his native Alabama, Zach was the Art Director of TrueBlue and the Founder and Principal Art Director of Young Monster, a custom screen-printing company. His work at both places was featured in publications ranging from ‘zines to the New Masters of Poster Design and he racked up so many Gold Addys, AIGA, and Print Regional Design Awards, it’s kind of embarrassing. Before that, Zach was earning a BFA in Graphic Design from Auburn University.

On weekends, Zach can be spotted combing through vintage stores for anything to do with punk rock, UFOs, the year 1987, and any general, pre-Internet ephemera. He is very, very tall.


Mary Foyder

Mary joined IDEO in 2005 as a communications designer in the San Francisco office. Now a senior design lead and communication design discipline lead in the Chicago office, Mary helps clients plan, envision and create content, strategizing everything from how to help women in rural Kenya save money to the creation of a birth control support network for women. In her tenure thus far at IDEO, her broad range of clients has included Forest City Development, The Kauffman Foundation, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nike, Pepsi Co., DTE, Bank of America, ConAgra and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy.

In addition to growing IDEO’s communication design team, Mary is passionate about mentoring young designers at IDEO and beyond. She continues to participate in AIGA’s summer mentor program as well as guest lecture at Illinois universities.

Among the press and accolades Mary’s work has received, her work with Bedsider garnered a 2011 IDEA gold for service design and bronze for both research and design strategy, as well as a Core77 strategy and research award in 2011. The Bedsider work was also featured in the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

The consummate optimist, Mary is as comfortable with ambiguity and the unknown off the job as she is on it. She loves riffing on recipes in the kitchen with her daughter as sous chef, exploring new cities, and camping in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She’s curious to the point of nosy. Sometimes, it’s hard for her to stop asking questions.


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